Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Trainer Charlie LoPresti said reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan came
out of his runner-up effort in Saturday’s Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) in
good order and is pointing toward a defense of his title in the $2
million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
“Those were not ideal conditions yesterday,” LoPresti said of the
race that came off the turf and was run at 1 1/16 miles on the main
track after Keeneland was hit by 1½ inches of rain in less than two
hours. “I was a little disappointed that he lost, but he never stopped
trying and was gaining on the winner (Silver Max).”
Wise Dan, breaking from the outside post in the 10-horse field, was
bumped going into the first turn, floated wide and raced far off the
rail the entire race in finishing 1¼ lengths behind Silver Max.
“I looked at the Trakus (stats) after the race and it showed he ran
40 feet farther than the winner,” LoPresti said. “That computes to
losing about four lengths.”
Owned by Morton Fink, Wise Dan will do the bulk of his training for the Breeders’ Cup here.
“We will make sure he is OK for the Breeders’ Cup and go out on the
29th (of October),” LoPresti said of a schedule that is similar to last
year when Wise Dan shipped to California the middle of Breeders’ Cup
Finishing third, 3½ lengths behind Wise Dan was Willcox Inn,
who earned $75,000 and pushed his career earnings past the
million-dollar mark to $1,014,543. Trainer Mike Stidham was pleased with
the effort from the 5-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday who races for
Lael Stable and All In Stable.
“He’d just won the Washington Park Handicap (G3) on the Poly so it
actually played in our favor to move to the Poly because he does not
like soft turf, so I was hoping for it,” Stidham said, referring to
Willcox Inn’s victory on Aug. 31 at Arlington Park. “(Jockey) James
(Graham) sat back – they were going pretty fast up front. He kicked in
and made a nice run down the stretch to pick up third money.”
Stidham said Willcox Inn is nominated to the Hagyard Fayette (G2) on closing day.
“We’ll look at that for sure,” he said.